Page 90 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine IV

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S IMPLY ABU DHABI
Hamilton needed to finish at least fifth in the 2008
Brazilian Grand Prix to secure the World Championship.
Felipe Massa’s crew were already celebrating what they
thought was a championship victory when Hamilton
passed Timo Glock on the very last corner of the last
lap of the season and snatched the title away from the
Brazilian. After a hard fought race Hamilton was in fifth
but, after rain, and in the closing laps of the race, Sebastian
Vettel of Scuderia Toro Rosso took the fifth position
away from Hamilton – this would have given the driver’s
title to Massa had the race ended there but incredibly on
the final lap of the race first Vettel and then Hamilton
managed to pass Timo Glock of Toyota, after Glock
(unlike Hamilton) had risked staying on the track with
dry-weather tyres, despite the rain. Thus Hamilton moved
back up to fifth, ensuring that he finished one point ahead
of Massa overall and winning the 2008 title. Hamilton’s
overtaking move happened after Massa had crossed the
line to win. Hamilton had clinched the 2008 Formula
One World Championship, becoming the youngest driver
to win the title, as well as the first black driver. He could
also lay claim to being the first British driver to win the
World Championship since Damon Hill triumphed in
1996.
Moving on from Success
A year after winning the 2008 Australian Grand Prix
from pole position, Hamilton started the 2009 season-
opening Australian Grand Prix from 18th place on
the grid after the McLaren team incurred a penalty for
changing his malfunctioning gearbox during qualifying.
After a difficult 2009 season Hamilton was set out to
challenge for the title hoping for a better season for him
and McLaren. For the new season Hamilton would drive
alongside new teammate, Jenson Button, while Heikki
Kovalainen moved to Lotus Racing.
Hamilton finished third in Bahrain, having qualified
fourth on the grid. In Australia, Hamilton failed to make
the top ten in qualifying, starting the race from eleventh
place on the grid. He ran as high as third, before ending
the race in sixth, after a late-race collision with Mark
Webber. Malaysia saw him in the top three positions in
all practice sessions, but a misjudgement on the weather
by his team in qualifying, left him on tyres that were
unfavourable for the wet conditions. This restricted him
to 20th on the grid for the race, before he came through to
finish sixth.
Hamilton scored his second successive victory in
Canada, becoming the first driver in 2010 to win from
pole position. Hamilton qualified in sixth position in
Shanghai, making up four places in the race and achieving
a second place finish, behind teammate Jenson Button.
This completed the team’s first one-two finish since the
2007 Italian Grand Prix. The next weekend at Monaco
Hamilton qualified and finished 5th. For the Turkish
Grand Prix, Hamilton qualified a season’s best 2nd,
behind Mark Webber.
Revving Up for his Abu Dhabi Triumph
Hamilton began the 2011 season qualifying and finishing
second in the Australian Grand Prix behind winner
Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, despite having to deal with a
damaged floor on his McLaren. In Monaco, he qualified
tenth after Q3 was red-flagged before he could set a
competitive time due to a heavy crash from Sergio Pérez.
Then, competing in the Canadian Grand Prix, Hamilton
attempted to pass his teammate Jenson Button on the
start/finish straight, but wet conditions and poor visibility
meant that Button was unaware of Hamilton’s presence
and a collision ensued. Button carried on to victory and
Hamilton retired with what McLaren suspected to be
suspension damage, but transpired to be a tyre puncture.
Qualifying third in Valencia, Hamilton dropped to fifth at
the start, but he passed Massa during the pit stop phase to
finish fourth. Silverstone then saw him qualify tenth, and
move up to sixth on the first lap. He later moved up to
fourth place, but in an attempt to conserve fuel was passed
by Massa on the last lap. However Hamilton skilfully
moved ahead at the final corner just scraping fourth
position. He qualified second at Germany, and took the
lead fromWebber at turn 1. Webber undercut Hamilton
during the pit stops to take the lead, but Hamilton re-took
the lead after the second set of pit stops, where Webber
emerged just behind him and he passed Alonso round
the outside of turn 2 to take his second victory of 2011.
Another front-row start followed at Hungary with several
dramatic battles for the lead with Button. He spun whilst
in the lead at one point and sent Paul di Resta onto the
grass, for which he received a drive-through penalty, but
recovered to finish fourth. This champion knew how to
handle his car and wasn’t prepared to put in anything but
his best performance.
A True Champion
Level-headed and approachable off the track, Hamilton
transfers his focus on the track remaining level-headed
and taking an approach to driving that can be described
as being as fast as lightning. This is a champion who is
not afraid to push himself to the limit. His passing move
driving around the outside of two other drivers during the
second race at Silverstone in England was a breathtaking
maneuver that no one who saw will forget. He started
eighth and won the race. This style was to continue in his
first F1 season. During his infamous ‘Rookie Year’, Lewis
proved that had the necessary strength of character but
still had a lot to prove after squandering a 17-point lead
in the series two races before the end. In 2008 he silenced
his critics by becoming the youngest ever world champion
and winning that title in the last race of the season. With
such extraordinary talent, Lewis Hamilton has obviously
been subjected to the usual media interest which led him
to announce in October 2007 that he intended to go and
live in Switzerland, to get away from the media scrutiny
in the United Kingdom. In November 2007, Hamilton
started dating Nicole Scherzinger, the lead singer of the
American girl band Pussycat Dolls becoming one half of a
glamorous and high profile couple, but it was announced
in January 2010 that they split up to focus on their
respective careers. Speculation continued as they were
seen together at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix and at the
Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, on 13 June 2010.
From astounding F1 by nearly winning the title as a
rookie, through his last-gasp second-year championship
success, to the challenges faced during 2009 and onto his
2010 renaissance, Hamilton has established himself as
one of the finest drivers and the biggest story of recent F1
seasons. Hamilton was awarded an MBE by the Queen in
the 2009 New Year Honours and on 18 March that same
year Madame Tussauds unveiled a waxwork of Hamilton
in his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes race suit. With a pure
racing spirit that is sure to remain a legend to generations
to come, Lewis Hamilton is set to continue his drive to
success in the long F1 career that surely awaits in the
future. He has had some private problems to deal with in
recent times, but his awesome victory at the Abu Dhabi
2011 Grand Prix saw him put his worries behind him to
concentrate on a championship career that shows no signs
of taking its foot off the gas...
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